Travelling to Conference On a Budget

author pic 5Hello all you brand ambassadors!

It’s officially conference season and that means more travelling (and expenses) for non-profits and service organizations around the U.S.. As most of you know, our team just returned from another AWESOME brainstorming session at Brand Manage Camp and came back with a ton of great wonderful topics, tips and advice that we plan on blogging about over the next few months. You guys are going to love what we have in store!

OK, back to travelling and expenses.

With the 2017 Brand and Integrity Conference coming up in early January, I felt it would be a good time to share some hacks that you should use to save a little money and keep your non-profit budget on track.

First, check if the hotel hosting the conference has some sort of discount for members attending a booked conventions at their venue. We saved about $70 per night when we found out there was a 25% discount for anyone attending the conference and was a member of their founders circle. With 4 people and 3 nights, our group saved over $840!! A quick phone call to the hosting hotel can go a long way.

Next, if you are planning on using a credit card to cover some of your travel expenditures, make sure you are using one that has some perks or benefits that you can utilize back on your business. has a good selection of travel credit cards that you may be able to qualify for and use. Two of our staff interns are planning on using their travel points to fly free to the Brand convention in May. That’s right, totally free.

Third, make the most out of public transportation. One of our staff members took an airport taxi directly to our hotel at a whopping $31 + tip! The rest of our money savvy group took the public bus for $2 total. And to top it of, we only showed up 30 minutes after our taxi friend. Before automatically booking a cab when you land, do a bit of research and see if a public option is available.

And for you international travelers, make sure to check the Alerts and Warnings from the U.S. Passports office before making any foreign destination plans.

Hoping to see you all at the conference in January!


7 Brand Geniuses You Should Follow On Twitter

author photo 3The other day, a group of us were discussing which twitter brand folks were the best to follow and why.

We each shared a person we thought everyone should be following and I kept notes. Below is the list we came up with. Check ’em out!











Charity Gala Coming in August

author pic 2Next month is an exciting time around the “non-profit” world as the 2016 Non-Profit Brand Awards are hosted and given out in Las Vegas, Nevada. For the past 8 years, we’ve been honored to be part of the judging council, and this year we are happy to announce that our very own CFO, Amanda Nguyen will be the honorary guest of attendance for her hard work and commitment in the non-profit sector over the past two decades.

Amanda has been an integral part in setting up the current point-based system that popular charity watchdogs like Charity Navigator use to decide if a non-profit is legitimate or not. There is no one in our office who is more passionate about helping out other non-profits and this award is undoubtedly well deserved and over due. If you are planning this attend this year’s award show, don’t forget to drop by and congratulate Amanda!

This year’s theme is “Creativity in Bloom” and it will center around a floral and nature theme. As a member of the foundation’s decor committee, I’ve been doing a ton of research to narrow down the main centerpieces for the showcase dinner on the first night of the gala. This Chicago wedding florist and this Florida event specialist have some really amazing designs that inspired us to try our hand at DIY centerpieces. Since two of our founding members are certified florists, I have a feeling we’ll be able to create something beautiful and within budget.

Talking about budgets… Our next Committee and Founders meeting will be held on October 8th @ 5:00pm to go over next year’s annual budget in a line-by-line viewing that continues our transparency with everyone supported by Non-Profit Brand Ideas.

Hope to see everyone at the Gala or at the committee meeting!

Think Like A Big Brand

It’s recently been announced that American Express has notified all cardholders that their co-branded Costco credit cards that they’ve used at Costco for 15 years will immediately be discontinued later this year. You can check out a this Costco credit card review here for more details.  Anyways, while this news is not the most exciting thing to come out of the credit world, what is interesting is in the manner in which Costco stood it’s ground to part ways.

You see, Costco was seeking more favorable terms from AmEx, but AmEx said they couldn’t reach a new agreement with Costco that “would have made economic sense” for their company. In other words, AMEX wasn’t going to meet the heavy demands requested by Costco.

So why would Costco make such big demands? Well, because they could.

Costco knows their value in the consumer chain and knows their strength in the marketplace. Costco brought in over 8% of the total revenue to AMEX and financial analysts project that number could have doubled in the next 10 years.

Costco stood up for itself, and in the end won their terms, in a new partnership with Visa.

At a recent workshop, I spoke on the topic of Brand Awareness and the Burden of Loyalty, and I brought up the broken partnership between AMEX and Costco. I reminded everyone that your expectation as a small business owner should be that every 5 years all business partnerships should be re-evaluated to ensure you are still receiving the service or product that meets your specific needs. You owe this to yourself, and to your customer base.


Finding Your Niche. Make It Count

I recently spoke to a friend of mine who seems to think all digital marketing agencies will soon need to “niche down” to really take hold of specific segments of a broader market. It won’t take long to understand that there are already agencies that cater to a very niche audience such as gym owners, wedding seo or publisher marketing.

So what does that mean for today’s smart and modern marketer?

Understanding your audience is more important than ever. But even more important is knowing what services your audience is wanting.

When I first started my MBA in 1984, I could never have fathomed that most of the tried and classic Sales strategies would fall wayside to the fast pace of the digital marketing landscape.  All the core concepts of decades past are non-relevant to tapping into the psychic of consumers in 2016.

Diving deep down into a broad industry will uncover many untapped facets of marketable audiences begging for service and insight. Look past the safety net of volume searches and really make your brand the prominent service provider in one given single niche.

Instead of going after lawyer seo, niche down into Spanish speaking tax lawyers or a similar specific audience.

niche downWhen you niche down, you ultimately pay more attention to a very select group of clients and really begin to understand what makes their business flow. Find their pain points and address each one individually.

If you offer SEO services, branch out to offer video SEO or content marketing.

Make it count!